RECENT NEWS

October 27, 2015

Rob Pfaffmann Named 'Preservationist of the Year'

Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh honored Rob Pfaffmann as Preservationist of the Year by presenting him with the YPA Promise Award at their annual meeting on October 27, 2015. Rob was recognized for his leadership in advancing historic preservation in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The event, held at the Union Project in Pittsburgh's East End, also announced YPA's 2015 Top Ten Preservation Opportunities.

Learn more about the 2015 Top Ten list and see a bio of Rob here.

March 21, 2015

The 'Advocacy Architecture' of Rob Pfaffmann

Rob Pfaffmann's passion for good design and community engagement has been highlighted in a feature in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The article chronicles Rob's career and the importance of both hard and soft advocacy. Author John Conti is a former news reporter who writes extensively about architecture, planning and historic preservation issues.

Read the full article here.

October 23, 2014

South Highland Avenue Bridge Earns AIA Award

Architectural enhancements to the new South Highland Avenue Bridge received an Award of Excellence from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The P+A project was one of seventeen to receive awards at AIA Pittsburgh's annual Design Pittsburgh gala. The bridge, linking Shadyside and East Liberty, reopened in October 2013 after a $2.9 million renovation. Jurors praised the use of lighting and fencing that celebrates the bridge's design and interpretive panels that recount the area's history.

See all 2014 award winners here.

August 12, 2014

Technology Comes to the Nationality Rooms

The University of Pittsburgh today unveiled two special audiovisual credenzas that will, for the first time, allow multi-media technology to be incorporated into the Nationality Rooms. With the French and Lithuanian Rooms selected as the prototypes, P+A worked closely with a multi-disciplinary team from the University to design mobile cabinets that house 50-inch flat screen TVs while respecting the historic and architectural features of each room.

Learn more about the AV credenzas here.

November 27, 2013

P+A Studying Brownsville Library Expansion

Pfaffmann + Associates has been selected to develop a feasibility study to explore expansion options for the Brownsville Free Public Library. Built in 1927 as a gift to the community from businessman Charles Snowden, the Library features an ornate Neoclassical front facade that once graced Snowden's Monongahela National Bank located across the town's square.

Read more about the Brownsville Free Public Library here.

November 8, 2013

P+A Completes High Performance Door Facility

Pfaffmann + Associates collaborated with Wannenmacher + Moeller to design a new North American Production Facility, for Hormann-Flexon, an international manufacturer of high-speed overhead doors. Situated on ten acres in Starpointe Business Park, the 67,000 sf state-of-the-art facility features a full-scale product showroom and is designed to accommodate an expansion to 220,000 sf.

Read more about Hormann-Flexon here.

November 14, 2013

Gateway Station Earns State Design Honor

The Light/Motion Collaborative, a joint venture of Pfaffmann + Associates and GBBN Edge Studio, has received an Honor Award for Architectural Excellence from AIA Pennsylvania for the new Gateway light rail station Downtown. The 2013 Architectural Excellence Awards program included categories for Architectural projects (built projects and new buildings of all types, including commercial, institutional and residential, plus additions and alterations), Interior Architecture (interior architecture of any building type), Historic Preservation (historic restoration, historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuses), Special Initiatives (planning, research, conceptual, unbuilt projects, policy development/ implementation and community initiatives) and Regional and Urban Design (built and unbuilt projects within the public realm). Honor awards recognize projects that exemplify the highest design quality in any category.

More about Gateway Station

October 22, 2013

Oakland 2025 Plan Honored with State Award

The Oakland 2025 Master Plan: A Vision for Sustainable Living and Mobility has earned the 2013 Planning Excellence for Public Outreach award from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The vision for the future of Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood was developed for the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation. The consultant team, led by Pfaffmann + Associates, completed the plan after an extensive year-long community process that featured hands-on "walkshops," or walking workshops, and a week-long "pop-up" storefront that allowed stakeholders to drop in, interact and add to the plan as it was being developed. The master plan identifies key urban design development opportunities, and improvements in housing, transportation, open space and business district development. The plan's focus centers on the idea that transformations in the realm of housing and transportation are key catalysts for creating overall neighborhood change.

This is the second honor the plan has received. In October 2012 the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recognized the plan with a Regional and Urban Design Honor Award.

More information + read the plan in full

October 5, 2013

DOCOMOMO Tour Day - Downtown Modernism

A group of Modern architecture enthusiasts joined tour guides Rob Pfaffmann, AIA, AICP; Jeff Slack, AICP; and David J. Vater, RA (PHLF board member) on a walking tour to learn how Pittsburgh was a crucible for Modern building design and engineering innovations in glass, steel, aluminum and other technologies.

The tour began with Susan Rademacher of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy reviewing the renovation-in-progress of Mellon Square, then headed to Equitable Plaza, Gateway Center, Point State Park and the Portal Bridge. The tour also examined Everyday Modernism--examples of non-architect designed facades constructed at the time from off-the-shelf components.

Read more about DOCOMOMO US here.

September 20, 2013

Jeff Slack Appointed to State Historic Preservation Board

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) has announced the appointment of Jeff Slack, AICP, to the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Board. Jeff will serve a two-year term which begins with the October 1 Preservation Board meeting.

Pennsylvania's State Historic Preservation Program, administered by PHMC, is required by the National Historic Preservation Act and the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Act, to maintain an adequate and qualified State Review Board that evaluates the historic significance of properties and provides professional advice on historic preservation matters. The board's duties include reviewing National Register nominations and nomination appeals and reviewing the state's Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan. The board includes members who possess a variety of demonstrated expertise in architecture, archaeology, architectural history, history, historic preservation, and planning.

Read more about PHMC here.

September 11, 2013

P+A to Study Moon Township Library Expansion

Pfaffmann + Associates has been selected to develop a feasibility study to explore expansion options for the Moon Township Public Library. The building, built in 1963 on Beaver Grade Road, was originally the clubhouse for the Montour Heights Country Club. It has served the community as a library since 1994.

Read more about the Moon Township Public Library here.

September 11, 2013

Sheet Metal Workers' Feasibility Study

P+A is assessing the facilities of Sheet Metal Workers' Local 12. Founded in 1880, the union established its current headquarters and training site in Harmar Township in 1976. Notable Pittsburgh buildings that highlight the sheet metal craft include the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and the O'Reilly Theater.

Read more about Pittsburgh's Sheet Metal Workers here.

August 18, 2013

Millvale Community Library Grand Opening

After six years of planning and construction, the Millvale Community Library opens this Sunday. Pfaffmann + Associates is proud to have been part of the remarkable process that made this important community asset a reality.

Funded initially by a grant, P+A researched the history and significance of the building, documented existing conditions, and developed the program, design and construction documents. The firm subsequently donated over 200 hours of probono professional services to help complete the project.

Read more about Millvale's first library in the Post Gazette and at Pop City.

July 24, 2013

P+A To Develop Altoona Housing Plan

Pfaffmann + Associates has been selected as part of a team to develop a strategic plan for housing in downtown Altoona. Project partners include Fourth River Development, Fourth Economy Consulting and LaQuatra Bonci Associates.

Located 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, Altoona retains a rich architectural heritage largely associated with the railroad industry. When completed, the plan will serve to guide long-term growth and redevelopment downtown.

More about Altoona's Housing Market Analysis

July 19, 2013

Pfaffmann Delivers Preservation PA Keynote

Rob Pfaffmann was the keynote speaker at Preservation Pennsylvania's annual meeting, which was held in conjunction with the Statewide Conference on Heritage in Pittsburgh. Rob's presentation, "From Mad Men to Mies: Managing the Future of the Recent Past," examined the challenges of managing cultural resources from the 1950s and 60s; the status of advocacy and education; and the applicability and efficacy of employing traditional preservation strategies.

More about Preservation Pennsylvania

July 19, 2013

"Pittsburgh: Crucible of Modernism" Walking Tour

Rob Pfaffmann and Jeff Slack led a mobile workshop on Pittsburgh's modern architecture as part of the Statewide Conference on Heritage. Working in conjunction with Louise Sturgess of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, the team highlighted Pittsburgh's role as a center for building design and engineering innovations in glass, steel and aluminum that became catalysts for the post-World War II Modern Design movement.

The tour explored Mellon Square, where Susan Rademacher of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy detailed recent preservation efforts; the old Alcoa Building; Equitable Plaza; Gateway Center; the former IBM Building and Hilton Hotel; and Point State Park's Portal Bridge.

More about Mellon Square

May 31, 2013

P+A to lead Observatory Preservation

Pfaffmann + Associates will lead a project to restore the exterior of the historic Allegheny Observatory as part of a Keystone Grant to the University of Pittsburgh. The grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will fund research and documentation needed to create existing conditions and construction drawings.

Designed by Thorsten Billquist and completed in 1912, the Observatory was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

More about the Allegheny Observatory

May 28, 2013

August Wilson Double Feature:
National Register + Preservation Grant

The childhood home of playwright August Wilson was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in May by the National Park Service. Pfaffmann + Associates was hired by Preservation Pittsburgh to prepare the nomination through a Keystone Historic Preservation Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

From his birth in 1945 until almost age thirteen, Wilson and his siblings were reared by his mother, Daisy Wilson, in a small apartment behind Bella’s Market at 1727 Bedford Avenue. The house would become central to Wilson’s writing and the direct source of inspiration for his ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle, a decade-by-decade anthology of African American life in Pittsburgh during the twentieth century.

In related news, PHMC announced this month that the Daisy Wilson Artist Community, Inc., the nonprofit steward of the house, has been awarded a $23,000 Keystone Grant to restore the masonry exterior of the building.

Read the National Register nomination here.

May 1, 2013

P+A Developer Experience Highlighted

Did you know that Pfaffmann + Associates has designed almost a million square feet of major office projects in the Pittsburgh area? And that we have considerable experience renewing brownfield sites and designing innovative residential developments?

Our new Developer Qualifications booklet highlights successful planning and construction of developer-led projects over the past fifteen years. Let us know if you would like a high-resolution PDF or a printed copy.

April 1, 2013

P+A Library Experience Illustrated in New Booklet

Over the past fifteen years, Pfaffmann + Associates has completed dozens of successful library projects for institutions of all sizes, from the region's largest centers of learning like the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and the Heinz History Center to all-volunteer neighborhood nonprofits like the Millvale Community Library.

Our new Library Qualifications booklet highlights the ways we have helped clients arrive at memorable solutions that are intuitively useable, anticipate changing demands and provide lasting and affordable performance. Let us know if you would like a high-resolution PDF or a printed copy.

October 11, 2012

Gateway Station Earns Highest Honor

The Light/Motion Collaborative, a joint venture of Pfaffmann + Associates and Edge Studio, has received AIA Pittsburgh's 2012 Silver Award for Design Excellence for the new Gateway light rail station Downtown. Not awarded since 2008, the Silver Award is the highest honor conferred by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. This is the third time since 2001 that Pfaffmann + Associates has earned this recognition.

A jury of Detroit architects called the station "a wonderful piece of civic architecture and a recognition of how integrated and important public transit is to the identity of a city. . . .The choice of materials celebrates the steel and glass heritage of the city and the expression of the materials celebrates the technology and innovation that make Pittsburgh Pittsburgh. Great job of exploding the box."

More about Gateway Station

September 29, 2012

August Wilson: His House History & Yours

Saturday, September, 29 from 10am to 1pm

Join P+A's Jeff Slack for a special program highlighting efforts to revitalize the childhood home of Playwright August Wilson and how to apply the same house history techniques to researching your own home.

Events include:

An update on the process to nominate the house to the National Register

Top 10 resources for researching your own house history, and

A special presentation by historian Larry Glasco on "The Wilson's Neighbors, the Wilson's Neighborhood."

Read about where to meet and more info here.

August 31, 2012

South Highland Avenue Bridge

P+A has completed the design of architectural enhancements, lighting and interpretive elements for a new South Highland Avenue Bridge. Scheduled to start construction in early 2013, the new bridge will include two panels that illustrate the history of the bridge and the Pennsylvania Main Line that it crosses.

Working within the constraints of the design process for modern infrastructure projects, P+A carefully used limited budgets for maximum architectural return.

Read more about this contemporary link with the past here.

August 31, 2012

Cafe at the Point: Beyond Fast Food

Celebrating the start of its second year, the Cafe at the Point in Pittsburgh's historic Point State Park was born from the idea that a conventional food stand could be much more - and tell visitors the significance of Fort Pitt located at their feet! While the park was well served with fast food during occasional events, it lacked a permanent food vendor with facilities to offer more creative, well-rounded dining options. Renovations to the park brought a sufficient increase in foot traffic from lunchtime walkers and commuters crossing through the park to support a small cafe on a seasonal basis.

The result is an eco-friendly structure that is more interpretive element than building. An etched stainless steel facade and glass canopy illustrate 250 years of history on the site. A living roof and walls enclose a super-efficient compact kitchen, storage and ADA toilet. Other green features include recycled steel and masonry, skylights, high-efficiency external LED light fixtures, and a storm water retention system. A LEED-NC Silver rating is anticipated.

Read more about this unique cafe here.

February 13, 2012

Preservation: A Sustainable Strategy

Rob Pfaffmann spoke today at "Building Sustainable Neighborhoods: Powering Sustainable Development in Allegheny County," a day-long forum at Phipps Conservatory sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Innovation Practice Institute and Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law. Rob's presentation, "Preserving Historical Roots in the Face of Innovation," highlighted the benefits that preservation planning offers as an integral component of green design. The forum was a collaborative venue for legislators, innovators, and industry experts to further develop Allegheny County's potential to be a leader in sustainable growth and energy development.

More about the forum, "Building Sustainable Neighborhoods"

January 12, 2012

Pfaffmann Speaks at Harvard on Design Leadership

Rob Pfaffmann recently spoke at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design as part of the seminar "Design Leadership: Leading Change by Design." The program, moderated by Loeb Fellow Anne Marie Lubenau (former director of the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh), explored the role of design professionals in society and their ability to influence broader change in our communities. Using examples from Pittsburgh, Rob illustrated cultural, economic, environmental and political connections to the built environment and shared successful problem-solving strategies for engaging the public in the design process.

More about Loeb Fellows

October 21, 2011

Igloo Advocacy at National Preservation Conference

Rob Pfaffmann recently combined his passions for mid-century architecture and creative community planning at the 2011 National Trust conference in Buffalo. Rob served as organizer and panelist for the session "Portland to Pittsburgh: Arenas of Modernism," which explored opportunities for repurposing historic sports complexes in communities across the country. Parallel case studies of Portland's Memorial Coliseum and Pittsburgh's Civic Arena highlighted reuse challenges, contrasted community engagement processes, and compared political traditions and models of success. The forum was moderated by Matthew Jordan Hayes, graduate student at Savannah College of Art and Design. Additional panelists included Christine Madrid French, Director of the TrustModern Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Peter Meijer, Principal at Peter Meijer Architect in Portland.

More about TrustModern

September 30, 2011

Rob Pfaffmann Honored with Grassroots Advocacy Award

Rob Pfaffmann received Preservation Pennsylvania's Grassroots Advocacy Award in Gettysburg on September 30. Rob was recognized for his leadership role in trying to save the Civic Arena from demolition. "Preservation battles are not fought by national or state organizations," stated Mindy Crawford, Executive Director of Preservation Pennsylvania. "They are waged by individuals with tremendous passion who keep fighting no matter what obstacles arise. Individuals like Rob Pfaffmann. Rob's efforts are the true success story here. Without his grassroots organizing skills and energy, this building would not have had a chance for reuse."

More about Preservation Pennsylvania

August 18, 2011

New Academic Center in Maine

Pfaffmann + Associates is bringing its extensive library and academic design experience to Thomas College in Waterville, Maine as a consultant to Connor Architecture. The Alfond Academic Center will be a 35,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art library commons and resource center. The new building, part of an ambitious master plan that will double the size of the campus, will also host technology services, classrooms, faculty offices, collaborative spaces and a cafe. Thomas College, founded in 1894, awards undergraduate and graduate degrees with an emphasis in business, technology and education.

More about Thomas College

October 23, 2010

Make Plans for "Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City"

Join Rob Pfaffmann for a free screening of the film "Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City" at the Carnegie Museum of Art on Saturday, October 23, from 3 to 5pm. Rob will provide a brief personal introduction to his great- great- grandfather’s work in Pittsburgh. If you missed the premiere last month on PBS, this is your chance to see producer Judith Paine McBrien's documentary on one of America's most important architects. McBrien shows, a century later, that Burnham is not only relevant but inspirational for everyone involved in making our cites more livable places.

More about the film, "Make No Little Plans"

June 24, 2010

P+A Hosts Budding Green Designers

P+A recently opened its studios to eight high school students from the Braddock Youth Project, a summer employment program run by the county's AmeriCorps unit. The students are learning about green design and development by working on projects ranging from green roof installation, to living wall creation, to lighting design. Their tour of P+A was designed to give them a feel for the dynamism of an architecture studio, and the role of the architect in green design.

Post-Gazette article about the Braddock Youth Project's green initiatives

June 8, 2010

P+A Honored for Outstanding Community Outreach

P+A was recognized by the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh with a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Community Outreach for our work on the Central Northside Community Plan. The honor was presented at CDCP’s annual Consultant Appreciation Event on June 8. This event celebrates the dedication and efforts of the Design Center’s RenPlan® volunteer consultants and firms.

More about the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh

More about P+A's Northside Urban Design projects

May 20, 2010

Jeff Slack Completes Cultural Resources Program

Jeff Slack recently completed the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Cultural Resources Essentials program. The four-part series was designed to bring the Bureau for Historic Preservation’s partners together in an effort to collaborate, learn from each other, and discover ways that federal, state, and local programs can intersect to help Pennsylvania’s communities preserve their historic character.

More about the Cultural Resources Essentials program

December 16, 2009

Three Staff Earn AICP Certification

Three P+A staff (Rob Pfaffmann, Carl Bergamini and Jeff Slack) recently earned AICP certification. AICP is the American Planning Association's professional institute, providing recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners, ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice.

More about the AICP

December 1, 2009

Cover Story

P+A's work on the Meadowcroft Rockshelter graces the cover of the Fall 2009 issue of Wood Design and Building magazine. Writes the magazine: “Through its innovative design and sensitive construction, the 2,500-sq.ft. interpretive archeological enclosure, completed in December 2007, protects and interprets one of the most important sites excavated in the United States.”

Download PDF of Cover Story

More photos

Wood Design and Building magazine web site

October 30, 2009

Pfaffmann Accepts Great Great Honor
on Behalf of Great Great Grandfather

Rob Pfaffmann was recently honored to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects on behalf of his great great grandfather, Daniel Burnham. The award, given at the AIA chapter’s annual awards ceremony, was timed to coincide with the centennial of Burnham’s work with Edward Bennett on their ground-breaking 1909 Plan of Chicago. Their plan, which helped create the city’s nearly uninterrupted chain of lakefront parks, is recognized as the first comprehensive planning document for guiding the growth of an American city.

More

October 22, 2009

P+A Earns Two New AIA Honors

Two Pfaffmann + Associates projects, one built and one proposed, were recently recognized with AIA Pittsburgh awards. The firm earned an Award of Excellence in Open Plan for its proposal for “A Civic Renewal” of Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena, plus a Certificate of Merit for Design Excellence for the new Hill District Branch of the Carnegie Library.

More on Hill Library
More on “A Civic Renewal”

February 27, 2009

Ancient Shelter Wins for Best New Construction

Meadowcroft Rockshelter is perhaps the oldest site of continuous habitation in North America. And at last — thanks to a new site-sensitive enclosure created by P+A — this ancient shelter has won an award for new construction: the 2008 Master Builders' Association of Western Pennsylvania's "Building Excellence Award" for Best New Construction under $10 Million.

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November 21, 2008

P+A's Green Design Earns Gold: LEED Gold Certification for Carnegie Mellon Cafe

In the course of renovating CMU's former Highlander cafeteria, P+A added a healthy serving of "green" to the menu. First-floor sensors regulate the levels of artificial lighting by measuring the amount of daylight entering the room. The lights dim when there's plenty of natural light and become brighter as night falls. New carbon dioxide sensors sense the number of occupants and provide more fresh air as necessary. The result: Not only an appetizing design, but one of the first college dining halls to earn LEED Gold.

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November 1, 2008

New Roof for 16,000-Year-Old Home earns Silver at AIA Awards

For the first time since 2005, jurors presented a Silver Medal at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Awards in Pittsburgh. Pfaffmann + Associates earned this honor for their roof enclosure for Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Avella, PA, a world heritage archaeological site containing the earliest evidence of habitation in North America. The jurors, all Seattle-based architects, said that the structure "builds a sense of reverence for the site through the architecture" and "skillfully re-creates the sense of a cave without being too literal...it is not a 'Disney' experience."

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October 24, 2008

Let's Give Them Something to Pecha Kucha About

Pecha kucha. No it's not a new dance craze. It's Japanese for “chitchat” and it builds on the premise that if you give creative people a platform to share their ideas, your own ideas will quickly start flowing. 16 architects, painters, photographers, conceptual artists and sculptors took part — including our own Rob Pfaffmann. Rob presented his ideas for the creative re-use of the Civic Arena.

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September 20, 2008

Way down in DOCOMOMO: Pfaffmann Speaks at DOCOMOMO Conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Tearing down the past doesn't have to be our city's MO. That was Rob Pfaffmann's topic at the DOCOMOMO (DOcumentation and COnservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the MOdern MOvement) conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Rob argued against the idea that Modern-era planning and design interventions are obsolete: Why not reuse the Pittsburgh Civic Arena as an anchor for a new urban plan, he challenged.

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